What adversity did Billie Holiday faced on the movie "Lady Sings the Blues" and how did she overcome it?

2 Answers

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that the life of Billie Holiday is one where adversity is a constant presence.  The fact that she was raped and violated, both before and during her practice as a prostitute would demonstrate the idea of dealing with adversity.  In her experiences of Northern discrimination, which was covert and hidden, and its Southern counterpart, which was more overt, she faced adversity.  In having doors closed to her because of her race and her lack of wealth, another set of adversity was faced.  Finally, the dependency on drug use would constitute as another set of challenges that needed to be faced were present.  As indicated in much of her music, Holiday had many reasons to be a one who "sings the blues."

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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In the movie "The Lady Sings the Blues: the actress and singer Diana Ross played Billie Holiday.  The beginning of her life she is put to working in a brothel where men wanted to have relations with her.  She was very innocent for a girl working in that setting but tough enough to resist. 

The era was when Harlem was the place to go for rich whites to hear the music sung by talented black people.  Billie Holiday was one of the people who had to resist drugs and other temptations as she also dealt with prejudice.  However, she was unable to resist very long and soon became a heroin addict.